Pat McCrory

A Marcellus Shale drill rig in Pennsylvania used in the fracking process.
Ken Skipper, USGS

    

    

The North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has finalized their recommendations on fracking in the state to the General Assembly. Critics argue the commission needs more time as the health effects of fracking are unknown. In addition, the state commission tasked with deciding the methods of Jordan Lake clean-up remains undecided on next steps. And Governor McCrory proposes legislation to close or convert the state’s 33 coal ash ponds. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory held a press conference today to celebrate a new report suggesting the state's economy is benefiting from tax cuts enacted last year.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council's "Rich States, Poor States" report ranks North Carolina sixth in the nation for its economic outlook.

McCrory says lowering corporate income taxes in particular has encouraged companies to move to the state.

Teacher of the Year sign
Dave DeWitt

This is an issue with way more than just two sides. To illustrate how convoluted and complicated paying teachers has become, consider this fairly simple argument from Terry Stoops, the Director of Education Studies at the conservative John Locke Foundation:

“Frankly it’s unfair to our highest-performing teachers,” Stoops says. “There’s no reason why the Teacher of the Year in North Carolina should make as much as any other teacher.”

Now here’s an actual, real life North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who, in a free market, would get paid more:

Tom Augspurger, USFWS, taking core sample as EPA's Alan Humphrey documents the ash bar during February 8th reconnaissance of Dan River coal ash spill. Photo by Sara Ward, USFWS..
Sara Ward / USFWS

The CEO of Duke Energy sent a letter this week to Governor Pat McCrory and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) outlining the company's plans for coal ash clean-up in the state.

Duke says the letter is a big deal.

DENR described it as inadequate.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.

Under the law, teacher tenure will be phased out by 2018 and replaced with a plan that requires local school districts to pick the top 25-percent of teachers who will be offered four-year contracts and bonuses.

“I think it’s an example of passing a policy without clearly understanding the execution,” McCrory said.

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At least 30,000 tons of coal ash poured through a broken Duke Energy stormwater pipe and into the Dan River earlier this month. The spill is the third largest of its kind in US history.

But that spill was much smaller than an accident in Tennessee six years ago.

It was the middle of the night, three days before Christmas in 2008 when part of a retention wall at a Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash pond ruptured.  A dike failed and millions of gallons of potentially toxic waste were unleashed.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory has sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO asking the company to remove coal ash from sites near waterways. In the letter McCrory says his administration has expressed its primary desire that coal ash ponds be moved away from waterways.

“This is a good development but we’re still dealing with words and not actions,” said Frank Holleman is senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.”

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

In light of the winter storm, Governor Pat McCrory says he will work with education leaders to review laws on make up days for public schools.

This week's snow storm led to closings that lasted up to three days for many schools across the state, forcing school officials to make tough decisions on how to make up for the lost time. Many schools still need to make up time from last month's snow. 

Emerging Issues
Dave DeWitt

Diane Ravitch is an education historian. She’s also a best-selling author and hugely influential on social media. In the past few years, she’s also become the champion for traditional public school teachers. What she isn’t, is subtle.

“North Carolina is bleeding talent,” she told the crowd at the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh on Tuesday. “North Carolina is bleeding experience. North Carolina has a brain drain caused by bad policy.”

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

While the state transportation department is already out salting roads, utility companies are closely monitoring the weather forecast today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Ellis said light snow is likely this afternoon, getting heavy tomorrow into Thursday. By tomorrow afternoon, he said, ice will coat much of the state.

Jane Pritchard is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. She said it would take a heavy snowfall to mess with power lines, but just a half-inch of ice can do a lot of damage.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Republican leaders in North Carolina have announced a plan to increase teacher compensation. It would raise the starting salary for new teachers, making North Carolina much more competitive in what it pays new teachers – especially when measured against southern states like Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

Governor Pat McCrory chose his old high school, Ragsdale High in Guilford County, to announce the plan to pay new teachers a more competitive salary.

Richard Lindenmuth began work in his position of interim CEO of the Economic Development Partnership in early January.
NC Department of Commerce

Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan to move parts of the state’s business recruiting functions to a private nonprofit have been delayed, as the new organization’s managers are setting up a plan for the transition and finding costs to cut, officials said Tuesday.

Parts of the state Commerce Department will be transferred to the Economic Development Partnership no sooner than July this year, according to a department letter given to legislators Tuesday. Two of the department’s divisions had been scheduled to be moved by June and three more by December.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory held a press conference Tuesday to lay out his administration’s priorities in his second year in office. He said he plans to increase teacher pay, though he didn’t say by how much. The governor also said his administration plans to submit recommendations for Medicaid reform to legislators in March. And McCrory emphasized in order to boost the state’s economy over the long term, he’d like to encourage more energy exploration.  

University of North Carolina Press

  

North Carolina’s politics have made national headlines lately as the traditionally Democratic state elected a Republican majority in the legislature and a Republican governor. The policy shift to the right might surprise those who think of the Old North State as a democratic stronghold. 

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP has expanded its lawsuit against the state’s new Voter ID law to argue that it discriminates against Hispanics and to challenge its elimination of pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

North Carolina lawmakers, business leaders and economists are touting a positive economic outlook for 2014.

Governor Pat McCrory gives a lot of credit for the state’s economic comeback to his administration’s overhaul of unemployment policy. 

In Washington, lawmakers continue to debate whether to approve a federal unemployment extension for more than one million jobless workers.  It’s an extension many in North Carolina had to do without several months ago.

During a speech in Research Triangle Park, McCrory said he likes what he sees.

Photo: The Rev. William Barber outside the North Carolina State Capitol building.
Jorge Valencia

A judge gave permission Monday to a group that’s been protesting new North Carolina laws to rally on the grounds of the state Capitol building.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour’s decision reversed denial of a permit  earlier this month.  It served as a preamble for the new year of protests, that have become known as Moral Monday, against the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Just hours after the decision, the Rev. William Barber, one of the key Moral Monday organizers, spoke to dozens of people on a courtyard outside the Capitol, mapping out 2014.

Jim Potter
Dave DeWitt

Education is the family business for the Von Eitzens. Ben and Beth have been at it for about a decade; he’s a high school science teacher, she’s a guidance counselor. From all appearances, they had it made: They worked in the same building – Graham High School in Alamance County – and they liked their jobs, they liked their colleagues, and they felt like they were really making a difference with their students.

But one thing was missing.

Teachers protesting
Dave DeWitt

Earlier this year, as the North Carolina General Assembly was just beginning its session, Senate Leader Phil Berger stood before the media to explain what he hoped to accomplish. Not surprisingly, much of his efforts were going to be focused on education.

“The goal obviously is to make sure that our kids have every opportunity to succeed in their educational environment but also in life,” Berger said. “Right now, our public educational system is failing too many of our students and we need significant improvement there.”

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

  Attorney General Roy Cooper finds himself in a unique position. He is the first Democratic Attorney General to serve in an all-GOP government since reconstruction.

The governor’s mansion and both chambers of the General Assembly are in Republican control. So he finds himself having to defend the legality of laws he disagrees with.

Gov. Pat McCrory
www.governor.state.nc.us

Governor Pat McCrory is seeking the advice of two-dozen teachers in developing education policy. The Governor's Teacher Advisory Committee met for the first time - a day after educators across the state protested against changes made in the most recent legislative session.

The teachers selected for the committee come from all corners of the state and all grade levels. In their first meeting yesterday, Governor McCrory asked them to come up with recommendations on a wide array of challenges, including teacher compensation, evaluation, and testing.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory has again defended North Carolina's new voting law during a talk at a leading conservative think tank. 

McCrory spoke at an event Monday hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington.  He stood behind the state's new voting rules, which require a photo ID at the polls, pointing out that 32 other states have similar laws.  He also criticized attorney general Roy Cooper for speaking out against the law.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has criticized the federal Justice Department's lawsuit alleging racial discrimination over new voting rules as a government overreach.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the law signed by McCrory in August, saying changes such as restrictions on certain types of ID and fewer early-voting hours would reduce participation rather than expand it. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

Governor McCrory is the subject of a new TV ad that seeks to boost his image.

A non-profit group called Renew North Carolina has bought at least 150 thousand dollars' worth of advertising time in the state's three largest television markets. They're scheduled to run over the next month. In one ad on the group's website, Governor McCrory talks about education, tax, and health care reform.

Office of Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

State lawmakers have successfully overridden two bills that Governor Pat McCrory vetoed.

One is a measure that would require welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. The other expands an exception designed to allow farmers and other employers to skip a requirement to verify workers' immigration status.

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